On July 25, 1990 President George H W Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act. “With today’s signing of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act, every man, woman, and child with a disability can now pass through once closed doors into a bright new era of equality, freedom, and independence.”
That summer, I was 7 years old, and about to enter into second grade.
I remember as a child feeling inadequate, incomplete, and invisible. I remember feeling like a burden if I were to tell my teachers that the print out they’d already enlarged for me were still too small for me to read, so I just pretended to read them, writing down random answers to made up questions just to fill in the blanks. I remember hiding behind my thick glasses, burrying my face in my books so that the other kids couldn’t see my tears thanks to the prescription that should have been magnifying everything else instead.
At the 25th Anniversary Celebration President Obama stated, “Thanks to the ADA, the places that comprise our shared American life, schools, workplaces, movie theaters, courthouses, buses, baseball stadiums, national parks, they truly belong to everyone. Millions of Americans with disabilities have had the chance to develop their talents, and make their unique contributions to the world. And thanks to them, America is stronger and more vibrant, it is a better country because of the ADA.
Yes, it is true that thanks to the ADA and it’s guidelines these last 25 years Americans with Disabilities have been able to enjoy those things President Obama mentions above. However, we still have a long way to go before the blind, the deaf, the wheelchair bound, and all other disabled citizens have equal access to the simplest of things in life.
Did you know that blind children are still being denied access to Braille?
Did you know that as life for Americans grow more dependent on technology, accessibility to these things are still an afterthought instead of part of the initial design?
Did you know that in this present day, blind parents are still having their children taken from them by civil services merely on the fact that they are blind?
Ladies and gentlemen, we still have a long way to go.
Today, my daughter is 5 years old, and about to enter into Kindergarten.
On Monday morning as Marley starts her first day of Kindergarten, she has an entire army behind her fighting for her success in the world. She has a mommy who will ensure that she is taught Braille at an early age. She has the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children and the National Federation of the Blind working hard to pass legislation so that 25 years later inequality and inaccessibility will be merely a thing in the history books.
If you happen to be in the Las Vegas area, I invite you to join us as we join the rest of the country in celebrating 25 years of the ADA.
hosted by the NFB of Nevada, Southern Nevada Chapter
Saturday, August 29th
from 2:30PM to 4:30PM
at the Blind Center of Nevada
1001 North Bruce St.
Las Vegas, NV 89101